Saturday Preview: Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
March 23, 2012
Post created by Tim
The battle for fourth place has become a fixture in the newspapers over recent seasons, a sort of relegation fight for the top sides, and today the men currently lying in fourth welcome their nearest challengers for a match that could go a long way to deciding the fates of many of the players, and potentially both managers on show. For Roberto di Matteo the task of getting the job full-time seemed impossible a few weeks ago, but the win over Napoli has given him a chance, and Harry Redknapp may find it much easier to take the England job if Tottenham aren’t in the Champions League next season.
Likewise a departing Redknapp could well see a few of his players leave, although you get the impression the likes of Modric and Bale wouldn’t mind having a top tactician in for a spell, while the Chelsea squad creaks with elderly players trying for one more year. However, it is the return to form of one of the relatively young men in their squad that has excited the fans, namely Fernando Torres, and if he continues to buck up the Spurs back four is in for a torrid time. Tellingly, neither side has a player in the top ten goalscorers in the league, which could explain their absence from the highest echelons of the table.
£30 FREE at Betfair: Chelsea: 5/6 | Tottenham: 10/3 | Draw 13/5
The visitors can’t be overhauled today, regardless of the result, as they are five points clear of their hosts, but a loss would further stifle the already muted enthusiasm they team have preserved during a difficult run of recent fixtures. At this stage in the season, with eight games to go it would also hand the momentum to the Blues who are in danger of coming into a bit of form at just the right time. Their manager will be conscious that the loss to City, while encouraging, shows a lot of room for improvement, and these ninety minutes will show us how much he has managed to change things since their last game.
Overall this is a tough game to call; the form suggests for betting on football that Chelsea is the favorite, but the team-sheets probably favour Spurs, despite them being away from home. A lot of speculation has centred on a lack of focus caused by the linking of Redknapp with the England job, but the players have their own futures to think about also, and need to step it up from recent weeks if they are to take home a point or three today.